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D&D General Are There Official Fantasy Religions That Have "'Heaven' By Community Judgement"

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
Okay, this is kind of a strange topic, but I find it interesting. Basically, earlier today I got thinking about how most religions (both in D&D and the real world) have a sort of "if you obey these rules/this faith, a higher power will reward you", typically with that higher power being a deity and the reward for following the religion's rules/faith being a "Heaven" of some sorts. In D&D and other fantasy TTRPGs, deities can literally deny their followers access to their religion's reward if they decide that they're not worthy. However, not all D&D religions have to be like this, and there are D&D worlds that don't have explicitly real gods (if they have them at all), like Eberron and Ravnica.

Now, the idea that inspired this thread is of a religion that's main divine reward/"Heaven Promise" isn't actually decided by the deity or whatever thing the religion is worshipping/venerating, instead it's decided by the community as a whole that is a member of that religion. The only example I can think of that sort of embodies this concept are the Elves from Aerenal in Eberron, where the "Heaven Promise" is becoming one of the Undying, and the people that decide if you become one of the Undying is the Aereni elven community as a whole, instead of just a deity or demigod. It doesn't quite embody exactly what I was thinking of, but is the best example from the top of my head of an official religion from D&D that fits this description. The Kryn Dynasty from Exandria also has similar themes to this, but doesn't quite fit, IMO.

So, are there any other examples of this concept in D&D? Are there any from other TTRPGs or fantasy sources?
 

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Pratchett's Discworld (novels and an RPG!) has an afterlife where what one believes is their fate appears to be what they get. If you think you're going to be punished in Hell, you will be. If you think you're going to Heaven, you probably will be. There's some wiggle room here -- people who were insincere in their beliefs don't get what they professed to have believed -- and everyone still has to be picked up by Death and taken to an intermediary step and even he doesn't really know what happens when everyone passes from his realm. The gods, though, even if they inspired a religious belief, aren't involved in what actually happens to the dead and, frankly, couldn't be bothered to get involved, even if asked.

Still, it's a pretty gameable set-up, which isn't surprising, given Pratchett's knowledge of fantasy and RPGs.
 

Okay, this is kind of a strange topic, but I find it interesting. Basically, earlier today I got thinking about how most religions (both in D&D and the real world) have a sort of "if you obey these rules/this faith, a higher power will reward you", typically with that higher power being a deity and the reward for following the religion's rules/faith being a "Heaven" of some sorts. In D&D and other fantasy TTRPGs, deities can literally deny their followers access to their religion's reward if they decide that they're not worthy. However, not all D&D religions have to be like this, and there are D&D worlds that don't have explicitly real gods (if they have them at all), like Eberron and Ravnica.

Now, the idea that inspired this thread is of a religion that's main divine reward/"Heaven Promise" isn't actually decided by the deity or whatever thing the religion is worshipping/venerating, instead it's decided by the community as a whole that is a member of that religion. The only example I can think of that sort of embodies this concept are the Elves from Aerenal in Eberron, where the "Heaven Promise" is becoming one of the Undying, and the people that decide if you become one of the Undying is the Aereni elven community as a whole, instead of just a deity or demigod. It doesn't quite embody exactly what I was thinking of, but is the best example from the top of my head of an official religion from D&D that fits this description. The Kryn Dynasty from Exandria also has similar themes to this, but doesn't quite fit, IMO.

So, are there any other examples of this concept in D&D? Are there any from other TTRPGs or fantasy sources?

Ravinca does have real Gods, its that outside of the Gruul and Gateless no one bothers with them.
 

Ravinca does have real Gods, its that outside of the Gruul and Gateless no one bothers with them.
That actually feels like a great campaign hook: a god without any worshipers sets out to change the status quo, with the help of his lone cleric.

(Sort of the inverse of Pratchett's Small Gods, which has a god with lots of faithless worshipers and a church hierarchy he finds abhorrent once he realizes what they've built in "his" name.)
 


Marc_C

Solitary Role Playing
I’ll just point out that- since the dawn of D&D- modules have included NPCS with levels in almost every settlement I can think of. Some were indeed retired adventurers with significant abilities.

So I would say that assuming a halfling shire has only no-level commoners is probably against the tide of D&D history.

You may now return to circular bickering.
Who are you talking to? Wrong thread maybe?
 


King Babar

God Learner
While someone more well-versed in the setting can correct me, The Known World of Artesia operates on principles similar to what you're describing.

In Artesia, when you die your soul descends into the Underworld where it is brought before the god Seedré to be judged. While Seedré makes the final judgement regarding your ultimate fate, it is really the prayers and curses of the living, as well as the testimony of the dead, that carry the most weight in the decision. So make sure you have friends and family that will pray for you when you die, because it may affect your fate depending on how you lived your life. Also maybe wear a mask if you plan on committing any grievous crimes.

Only followers of Islik the Divine King have a "Get Out of Jail Free" card, as he can intervene on the whole procedure and allow you to ascend to his Palace. Islik really only cares about your devotion to him, not your actions in life.

Edit: After doing some research, Glorantha, which Artesia is inspired by, has a similar procedure. Daka Fal, Judge of the Dead (also known as Grandfather Mortal) hears testimony from the dead as well as the gods before deciding the fate of a soul who enters his Court.

Glorantha lore is wild, man.
 
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Uni-the-Unicorn!

Adventurer
That actually feels like a great campaign hook: a god without any worshipers sets out to change the status quo, with the help of his lone cleric.

(Sort of the inverse of Pratchett's Small Gods, which has a god with lots of faithless worshipers and a church hierarchy he finds abhorrent once he realizes what they've built in "his" name.)
I watch an anime that had this concept. A once powerful war god no longer had worshipers in a prolonged time of piece and was instead doing odd jobs to get worshipers and try to find a new niche.
 



Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Now, the idea that inspired this thread is of a religion that's main divine reward/"Heaven Promise" isn't actually decided by the deity or whatever thing the religion is worshipping/venerating, instead it's decided by the community as a whole that is a member of that religion.

So... by popularity contest"? Goodness, imagine the nature of your *everlasting afterlife were decided by a vote... death elections, campaigning, buying votes, people who didn't like you campaigning against you to get to darned to some eternal heck...

That sounds horrible.
 

Gnarlo

Gnome Lover
Supporter
Fury Road has the War Boys “witnessing” each other’s deaths to see if their ends are worthy or Mediocre; and Immortan Joe promises to personally carry Nux to Valhalla if he succeeds. Can’t get much more judgmental than your religion’s figurehead promising to carry you to heaven if you prove worthy.
 

aco175

Legend
I forget what TV show had an episode where the characters ended up on a world that everyone had likes on a badge or such. There could be a spiritual 'likes' where the community unwittily bless or curse the others as part of everyday life and the tally comes due when someone dies. Of course some would know how the deal works and offer 100 'likes' or 'unlikes' if you just give me gold.
 

MarkB

Legend
I forget what TV show had an episode where the characters ended up on a world that everyone had likes on a badge or such. There could be a spiritual 'likes' where the community unwittily bless or curse the others as part of everyday life and the tally comes due when someone dies. Of course some would know how the deal works and offer 100 'likes' or 'unlikes' if you just give me gold.
It rings a bell, vaguely. Possibly The Orville?
 

MarkB

Legend
To answer the OP, Klingon religion is kind-of like this. Your fate in the afterlife depends upon your level of honour, but in Klingon culture 'honour' is often equated with 'social acclaim' - so someone who dies after being publicly disgraced may be considered unworthy of their version of heaven even if they had acted honourably.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
So... by popularity contest"? Goodness, imagine the nature of your *everlasting afterlife were decided by a vote... death elections, campaigning, buying votes, people who didn't like you campaigning against you to get to darned to some eternal heck...

That sounds horrible.
I agree that it would be horrible, but would also be an interesting fantasy religion/culture, which is why I asked about it. The Tairnadal Elves of Eberron basically have this, so I was wondering if there were any other examples of cultures/religions like this in D&D worlds.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I forget what TV show had an episode where the characters ended up on a world that everyone had likes on a badge or such. There could be a spiritual 'likes' where the community unwittily bless or curse the others as part of everyday life and the tally comes due when someone dies. Of course some would know how the deal works and offer 100 'likes' or 'unlikes' if you just give me gold.
Perhaps you mean "the good place"?
 

aco175

Legend
I was thinking the Orville like what @MarkB thought.

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